February 7, 2017

NMED seeks public comment on plan for KAFB fuel leak

To help prevent spills, all the pipes at the bulk fuels facility are either above ground or in a concrete-lined trench, where they can be seen through a heavy steel grate. (Photo by Lee Ross, from Kirtland Air Force Base website)

The New Mexico Environment Department and its partners released their 2017 strategic plan for the Kirtland Air Force Base fuel leak in January.

Over the course of decades, an estimated 24 million gallons of jet fuel leaked from storage tanks at the base. The leak was first detected in 1999.

The strategic plan is only a “reference and planning document” and is not enforceable under any regulatory agencies. But it does include information that the public could find helpful, including conceptual diagrams of the leak, a map showing the locations of monitoring wells and drinking water wells and a timeline for cleanup. This summer, for instance, a fourth groundwater extraction well is expected to come online.

One of the agencies’ goals for 2017 is to “communicate accurate, comprehensive information to the public.” At the end of the plan, there are additional links to monitoring and investigation reports and contacts for NMED employees.

New Mexicans still have ten days to submit comments on the draft plan to diane.agnew@state.nm.us.

There is also an upcoming meeting on the jet fuel spill on March 9 from 5:30-8:00 at the African American Performing Arts Center at the State Fairgrounds in Albuquerque.

On Saturday, March 11 the Air Force and NMED are hosting a public workshop on the investigation report. Members of the public must register before Feb. 28 at https://www.portageinc.com/apps/kafb/